Thursday, November 30, 2006

Great Service

I've had three remarkably good customer service experiences recently,
so I thought I'd take a moment to remark on them here.

A couple of months ago, I decided to order Darter (href=>, and placed an
order on their web site. They indicated when in shipped, and I
eagerly looked forward to its arrival. Given that they sent it
priority mail, I expected it in a couple of days. After a week had
gone by, I was getting worried. I took an evening walk when I noticed
a box in the bushes of a neighbors house a few doors down. I fished
the box out, and it was addressed to me, from the Darter folks, ripped
open and completely empty. I emailed the publisher, letting them know
what had happened. They mailed me a replacement immediately for no
extra charge. Oh, and it's a very good game.

Last month, I decided to order some games that had come out earlier in
the year as well as a new release or two and some Christmas presents.
However, some of them had just gone out of stock at GameSurplus, so I
emailed them. I asked if they could wait to see if they could get
more in stock quickly, and if so, hold off on mailing them, otherwise
ship them immediately. Then, I changed my order. Then, I added
something else to my order. GameSurplus dealt with all this
indecision and complication wonderfully. They got one game, and
weren't able to get another, and shipped the order such that I had the
games by the weekend. Most online retailers do a reasonably good job
if you do things in a straightforward manner. Any complication, they
usually don't do as well. In this regard GameSurplus excels.
Additionally, most places, the reason shipping takes so long is they
don't "fulfill" or "handle" and order often until the day after you
order, if not more. The actually delivery companies are pretty quick.
GameSurplus takes, as far as I can tell, zero time doing "handling".
Plus, to the Boston, the shipping is fast. An order placed on early
Wednesday afternoon is here on Friday. href=>GameSurplus is a paragon of
mom-and-pop online retailing.

Finally, I had an issue with my iPod nano. For some reason, it got
stuck on "lock". I'd toggle the little switch, but nothing would
happen. I read about a few other similar reports online and tried
various approaches: toggle the switch fast, drain the battery to
nothing, reinstall the firmware, etc. Nothing had any effect. I
could plug it in and see everything on it on the computer, but I
couldn't do anything with the iPod directly because the buttons were
non-responsive, because that's the whole point of the "lock". So, I
happened to be near an Apple Store and I brought it over to the
"Genius Bar". This was on Black Friday. There was no wait, and the
guy looked at it, asked if he could take it in the back, and
disappeared for a little while. He came back and had not had any
success. He asked if it was still under warranty, and I indicated I
was pretty sure it was not, as I had purchased it last September. He
looked it up by serial number and confirmed it was out of warranty,
but asked, "Well, do you mind losing the engraving?" referring to the
engraved name on the back. I said no and was given an identical new
(possibly refurbished, but completely pristine) replacement unit, in
exchange for my non-functioning out-of-warranty iPod. That's customer
service "genius".

Saturday, November 4, 2006

Not a collector

I own a lot of games, but I don't really consider myself a "game
collector", since I own them to play them, not just to own them,
generally. But as I continue to acquire more games, despite a reduced
rate, I occasionally question whether I've become a collector.

I recently looked at the list of SdJ winners and realized I owned most
of them. It turns out, other than this years, and 3 others, I own
them all. So, I thought about whether I feel any compulsion to buy
Torres, Auf Achse and Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective. Well,
I've been meaning to try Auf Achse and Sherlock, which sound sort of
appealing, but without trying them, I don't feel any need to own them.
Torres I've tried several times and don't like. I don't need to own
it. I feel vindicated, for surely a "collector" would feel a need to
have the complete set.

But, just to be sure, I checked the DSP list. I don't own Lowenherz,
but I do have Domaine, so that doesn't really count. The only one I'm
genuinely missing is Der Fliegende Hollander. Again, no compulsion.
But, actually, it's only one game, and it does sound sort of
interesting. Uh oh.

Friday, November 3, 2006

BGG XML Snapshots

I made a href=>snapshot
of all the ranked games on BGG in XML format. Do interesting
things with it.